It’s Fèis Ìle and seems appropriate to review some Islay releases..
Kilchoman Loch Gorm (2022)
The 2022 release if Loch Gorm was produced from 20 first fill oloroso sherry butts and 2 refill oloroso sherry butts. 17,250 bottles were released.
Farmyard and syrup. The sherry casks are on prominent display here, we’ve got cinnamon, ginger, cloves and dried cranberries, all backed up by smouldering hay bales. There’s a really nice sweetness coming from the nose, it’s more of a refined sugar with a hint of strawberry and a little biscuit base. The smoke, funk and sherried richness give this a complex nose without any of the individual components being too overpowering.
Treacle, vanilla sponge, digestive biscuit with a fair whack of bottled lemon juice. It’s funky, earthy and rich with a really distinct creme de cassis and caramel flavour coming through on the mid palate. We’re also getting some ginger coming through along with a heavy (enjoyably bitter) Islay peat flavour - it’s like chewing on remnants of a coal fire, but in a good way. However the mouthfeel is a little lacking and the finish, albeit a decent length, is a bit thin on flavours other than smoke.
Nose (with water)
We’re getting more citrus coming through now, preserved lemon, a hint of lime zest, all merged in with moist soil and sweet, caramelised white sugar and oak. A lot of the richer, sherry aromas have receded into the background now, and we feel it’s lost a little of the complexity it had without the addition of water.
Palate (with water)
More citrus, similar to the nose now, and even more funk. Wet earth, oak and leaves in abundance. Sweet peach iced tea, sour candies, kiln smoke and a touch of chocolate on the finish. Again, we’re losing a lot of the sherried flavours from before, and the mouthfeel and finish are still a little bit of a let down.
We’ve usually split here on Kilchoman, one of us is a big fan, the other can take it or leave it. This is a solid whisky that’s got some good complexity and balance of flavour, but is let down by mouthfeel and finish. We’d avoid adding water as you lose some of what makes the dram special, but overall we’d have another dram.
Kilchoman Comraich Batch #5
Price: £7.50 per 30ml
The fifth release of Comraich was matured exclusively in port casks all at least seven years old. Comraich releases are available by the dram at Kilchoman affiliated bars.
Grape must, strawberries, more of that signature Kilchoman farmyard funk along with Chantilly cream and a background of ashy smoke. There’s a mild pepperiness on the nose as well as some sponge cake. You get a fair waft of alcohol from the nose, but its carried reasonably well by the smoke. Going back we’re getting some honey, hay and chocolate with hazelnuts mixed through.
It’s really funky, powerful earthy, herbal flavours cover the palate with hints of lemon, vanilla and strawberry syrup. You can get some of the port influence, but it’s not too noticeable until the finish, giving it a nice red berry richness alongside the lingering smoke. It’s one of those whiskies that feel a little thin as you first take a sip, but grow to completely dominate the palate as you swallow.. it’s quite impressive in that regard. It’s got a solid mouthfeel and good length finish.
Nose (with water)
It’s richer and nuttier now, those hazelnuts have now been toasted and are taking front and centre stage. We’re getting some salty sea air, a little lemon and some antiseptic too. We’ve still got the backbone of farmyard as well as touch more oak showing now.
Palate (with water)
We’re not finding too many differences with water - the alcohol is a little more restrained, but it wasn’t too overpowering to begin with. We’re getting the powerful earth and herbal flavours but then it mellows into more vanilla led sweetness. The finish loses some length with water which is a little disappointing. Again, the port cask influence doesn’t appear til the end.
If you like Kilchoman, we’d bet on you being a fan of this. It’s powerful and funky, whilst managing to stay well balanced as the flavours and aromas progress. The palate is the star here, the depth of flavour really surprised us. We were a little disappointed we didn’t get more of the port influence, but it’s a tasty dram none the less. Avoid water as we don’t think it really helps it too much.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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